Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Indy Weekend: La Chinita Poblana

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Home to Indy for the weekend always means lots of food, food and more food. My mom is usually cooking and Andrew and I always stop by one of our favorite spots. This weekend was no different. On Saturday Andrew and I grabbed a late lunch with my sister and her fiancé at La Chinita Poblana, a fusion taqueria in Broad Ripple.

Now everyone knows how much I love a good taco. Second to Andrew, it’s my definitely most committed relationship. Something I am extremely proud of. Sorry, Andrew! So the fact that I hadn’t tried this Indy spot was surprising. Nonetheless I was excited to try the Mexican-Asian hybrids, which I had heard about through many an Indy-folk.

I started with a hibiscus iced tea that was punchy and refreshing. It matched the vibe of the neon walls in the standing-only joint. While waiting for our tacos we shared guacamole. The guacamole was traditional… good, but nothing new or different. The chips, however, were thicker than most and had a lovely dose of salt. A nice change of pace compared to more typical super-thin varieties.

Within 10 minutes our tacos arrived and unlike the familiar guacamole, these tacos were nothing like your average Mexican fare.  Between Andrew and I, we shared the pork carnitas, chicken and tilapia. The carnitas had just the right amount of crispy edges and juicy pork. Pickled onions added a vinegary bite, a taco topping I always appreciate. The chicken was smothered in a sweet chile-de-arbol salsa and marinated in tamarind and cumin… definitely a far cry from a traditional chicken. Finally the tilapia, my personal favorite, was blackened with yellow curry and finished with chipotle mayo and pickled cabbage. It had just the right level of heat + creaminess + pickled perfection. An impressive taco, I must say.

La Chinita Poblana has all of the elements I admire in a taqueria: no-fuss decor, bold, delicious flavors and lots of napkins. For an easy lunch or quick dinner, it’s a great choice for Hoosier taco-lovers. Just don’t expect a seat!

Hibiscus tea

photo4

Pork carnitas

Tilapia

La Chinita Poblana
927 East Westfield Blvd.
Indy  46220
317/722-8108

Avocado Tomatillo Dip

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

I recently made Avocado Tomatillo dip for this past Thursday’s Galentine’s celebration. Thanks to Delicious By Dre for the recipe, it added a light and fresh element to our very…. cheese- and cocktail-heavy table. We all agreed that although it brightened our winter table, we would enjoy it even more in the summer sunshine, margarita in hand.

I’ll be sure to make this delicious appetizer again once summer rolls around. I might even add an extra jalapeno to intensify the spice. Thanks for the recipe inspiration, Dre!

Avocado Tomatillo Dip

Galentine’s Day Mini Chicken Tacos

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Last night my gals and I celebrated Valentine’s Day Eve… also known as GALentine’s Day. With lots of food, friends and bubbly drinks we did what girls do best… gabbed about astrological signs, the impending retrograde and each couple’s romantic weekend plans.

Mini Chicken Wonton Tacos

To match the girly-themed evening, I wanted to make something cute, fresh and bite-size. After searching my favorite recipe blogs, I failed to find anything that wowed me. I was stuck on the idea of creating a mini taco, complete with queso fresco and the red onions I had pickled earlier this week. So I took a leap and ventured into “recipe development” land, a place I don’t often explore. But I’m happy to say that the result of this recipe test turned out delicious. The gals approved… so what else matters?

Mini Chicken Wonton Tacos

These tacos were a hit. They’re fast finger food but have complex flavors with the addition of pickled red onions. They can be prepared in advance, (just don’t fill your taco shells!) so they’re great for an after-work evening. I hope you share them with your favorite girl friends, too!

Mini Wonton Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ -1 ¾ lb. chicken breasts
  • Jar of salsa verde (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ sweet onion, small diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1½ cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped,
  • ¾ cup queso fresco
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional:

  • “Quickled” Red Onions—click here for the recipe

Directions:

To prepare chicken, place chicken breasts, salsa verde, cumin, red pepper flake, and chili powder into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Once chicken breasts are fully cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. Place shredded chicken back into salsa verde mixture and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to one hour. This step can be prepared in advance.

Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place one wonton shell into each basin of a muffin pan, forming small bowls. Bake for five minutes at 350 degrees, until just slightly golden. Meanwhile to make the filling, combine chicken, onion, jalapeno, Mexican blend shredded cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Once wonton shells are done, fill each shell with a spoonful of mixture. Place all wontons on a cookie sheet and return to oven. Bake for an additional five minutes, or until warmed through and wonton shells are golden and crispy.

Top with queso fresco, cilantro, lime juice and red onions, if using. Serve immediately.

Galentine's Day FeastI also made a yummy avocado tomatillo dip, I’ll be posting the recipe this weekend! Happy Valentine’s Day, all!

“Quickled” Red Onions

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Quickled Red OnionsIt’s Sunday night. The middle of winter. I’m eating leftover breakfast quesadilla with 2 lbs of chicken in the crock pot. Low point? You might call it that. I prefer to think of it as the prefect time for some impromptu pickles.

Pickled red onions are one of my favorite meal toppers. They add the perfect punch to almost any meal, and make a mundane salad or taco instantly feel a little bit fancy.

These easy refrigerator quick-pickled, or “quickled” red onions are the perfect pick-me-up for when you’re experiencing a bad case of the Sunday night blues. Ready in under an hour, they can be enjoyed immediately or can flavor your meals throughout the week.

Quickled red OnionsQuickled Red Onions:

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (canning or pickling salt preferred)
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon pickling spice

Instructions:

Bring 2 to 3 cups water to a boil. Meanwhile, slice your onions lengthwise into half moons. In a mason jar, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic and pickling spice. Shake to mix. Once water reaches a rolling boil, place onions in a colander and slowly, very slowly, pour water over the onions to slightly soften. Place onions into mason jar and ensure that all onions are completely submerged in pickling liquid. (Add a few drops of water if necessary.) Place the sealed container in the fridge. Pickles will be ready in around 30 minutes, but best left overnight.

If sealed in an airtight mason jar, pickles will last for several weeks, but best eaten within the first week or so.